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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Your daily dose of gymnastics: Oksana Omelianchik

I have a cousin who visited the Soviet Union before its dissolution and he returned to the USA explaining that all they ever ate there were cucumbers and tomatoes.

Soviet great Oksana Omelianchik definitely had that cucumber-and-tomato diet look about her; here she is at 15 looking like she's 9 or 10:


Her size is listed at 4'7" and 66 pounds--not that that was unusual for gymnasts of any country in the 1980's and 1990's. This was in 1985 and Oksana won the world title thanks to this innovative and balletic and way cute routine:



Now, I'm on the record as saying I detest the cutesy. But OO gets a cutesy hall pass for this one, on account of technique and exuberance and commitment to the part.

The floor routine made her famous but I love how her bar routine is reminiscent of 1970's style--all hechts and twists and whatnot--but updated with release skills for the 1980's:


But wait, there's more! You also get a really elegant beam routine!

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